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Alleycat Racing

Alleycat racing is a form of bicycle racing that tests speed and navigational skills in urban areas. The activity was inspired by bike couriers and the extensive routes they took across large cities. Typically, the races are held late at night during low-traffic hours in metropolitan areas, such as Toronto. Prior to the start of the race, alleycat racers meet at a central point where they receive a card that lists checkpoints across the city. Each checkpoint is based off the theme of the race or is a significant urban landmark. Participants choose their preferred route to the checkpoints, and once they have reached them all then race to a designated finish line.

Is this activity known by any other names?

Alley cat racing

What are the origins of the activity abroad and in Canada?

Alleycat racing was created in Toronto by a group of bike couriers and urban bicycle explorers. The first organized race was held in 1989, and the activity spread globally through the bike courier community.

Who takes part?

Men and women from diverse ethnocultural backgrounds. The activity originated with urban bike couriers and remains popular with members of this occupational subculture. In 2017, the first Toronto alleycat race was organized for women, trans and gender nonconforming riders.

When does it occur / How often do you take part?

Alleycat races are organized informally during the summer months or at special events, such as Halloween or Valentine's Day, throughout the year.

Are there any organized clubs, groups, organizations or leagues?

MAYDAY Toronto Race; W.T.F. (Women, Trans, Femme) Alley Cat

Cultural Significance

Alleycat racing is associated with the occupational subculture of bike couriers. It began as an anti-authoritarian activity that challenged the dominance of cars on city roads, and some races may involve breaking traffic laws.

Is there anything else we should know?

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Sport
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  • Trinity Bellwoods Park
    790 Queen St W
    Toronto, ON M6J 1G3
  • Bike Pirates
    1416 Queen St. W
    Toronto, ON M6K 1L9

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